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After a long summer break, the world is well and truly back to work. Politics has gone from 'zero to 100' in record time, companies are launching new products, all of your favourite television shows are back on air and the children are bringing home half eaten sandwiches and permission slips from their teachers. It is February!
The first draft of the United Nations draft protocol to be considered was released late last week. The Guardian reports that "Almost 200 countries agreed a draft text for a deal to fight climate change but put off hard choices about narrowing down a vast range of options for limiting a damaging rise in temperatures. But the document includes radically varying proposals for slowing climate change – one foresees a phase-out of net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, for instance, while another seeks a peak of emissions “as soon as possible”."
The United Kingdom this week became the latest nation to make a major statement on addressing climate change. The Conservatives and their partners in government, the Liberal Democrats, and the opposition Labour Party have all signed on. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that acting on climate change was "an opportunity for the UK to grow a stronger economy, which is more efficient and more resilient to the risks ahead". The report said: "The British politicians said they would push for an internationally binding agreement in Paris that limits temperature rises to 2 degrees."
On the other side of the Atlantic, US President, Barack Obama, kept climate change in the news telling Vox that the media overplayed the threat of terrorism when compared to threats such as climate change and cybersecurity. Press Secretary explained the White House views in ABC America News stating that climate change impacts more people on an annual basis than terrorism.
Still in the USA, Reuters reports the White House has set a goal of raising $2 billion in philanthropic investments to fight climate change, including technologies to slash carbon emissions. It says "The Clean Energy Investment Initiative is seeking investments to try to bridge the "valley of death" - the gap in funding between research and development and commercialisation that holds back many clean-energy start-up companies".
Back home, the Canberra based Australian Academy of Science released its latest update on the state of climate science. The new publication outlines the effects globally and in Australia of rising average temperatures and increased climate variability. "The science of climate change: Questions and Answers" aims to counter confusion and misinformation on this important scientific topic. It examines nine key questions, including what the science says about options to address climate change.
Nobel Laureate and Academy of Science fellow and council member, Brian Schmidt, concludes in the Sydney Morning Herald: "The evidence is clear: human activities are changing the Earth's climate, and what we do now and into the future will strongly influence the world's weather in the decades and centuries to come. For the future health of our world and our country, Australians, let's quit self-diagnosing on climate change, and act on the expert opinion."
The stage is set for a great year in addressing climate change.